HMD today announced a trio of new smartphones – the Nokia G60 5G, C31 and X30 5G – and says the X30 5G is the “most environmentally friendly smartphone” it has ever produced. The three phones are aimed at Europe and stand out from the range of devices HMD sells in the US.
Not only will the Nokia X30 5G be sold in full, but it will also be one of the few phones available through HMD’s new subscription service called “Circular”, where customers can subscribe to get a handset for a monthly fee and receive incentives. to use a phone for as long as possible. Circular will initially be available in the UK and Germany, but HMD says it plans a global launch “in the coming months.”
HMD justifies its eco-friendly claims about the Nokia X30 5G with the amount of recycled materials used in the handset’s construction. It has a 100 percent recycled aluminum frame and a back panel that is made from 65 percent recycled plastic and ships in a box made from 70 percent recycled paper. The company also says it will support it with three years of OS upgrades and monthly security updates, and offers a three-year warranty as standard.
Efforts to produce a more environmentally friendly smartphone is a commendable initiative, but HMD’s efforts lag behind sustainable smartphone specialist Fairphone. While the most recent device, the Fairphone 4, does not use recycled aluminum, the back is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, the solder is made from 100 percent recycled tin, and it uses fair trade gold and conflict-free tungsten. Fairphone is committed to supporting the phone with five years of security and software updates instead of three, and also designs its devices to be as easy for the end user to repair as possible, with removable batteries that can be easily swapped out when they deteriorate and other components which can be removed with simple screws. None of these can be seen on HMD’s Nokia X30 5G.
When I put these questions to HMD, Adam Ferguson, the global head of product marketing, told me that the company decided to focus primarily on plastic and aluminum because there is such a relatively large amount of materials in a smartphone. “Our main focus is addressing what we see as the two biggest elements where we can make the biggest difference [and which] will have the biggest impact on e-waste,” said Ferguson, adding that HMD’s “next step” will look at other areas where it can improve the durability of its devices.
Aside from its durability credentials, the Nokia X30 5G is a fairly typical mid-range device. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with a choice of 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage, and has a 6.43-inch 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. On the back is a 50-megapixel main camera with a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The phone will be available later this month with prices starting at £399 (€529).
Alternatively, the X30 5G will be available through HMD’s new subscription service Circular, where it costs £25 per month with a start-up fee of £30 in the UK. The idea is that instead of buying a phone right away, customers can rent their handset for a minimum of three months with a continuous subscription. The catch is that they then send the device back to be recycled or reused at the end of the subscription. HMD also hopes to encourage customers to use devices longer by offering credits that can be invested in charities.
In addition to the Nokia X30 5G, HMD is today announcing two additional smartphones. First up is the Nokia G60 5G, a £249 handset that is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and includes a three-year warranty alongside three years of security and Android updates. However, it starts with just 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable storage and has an LCD screen instead of OLED. The screen is 6.58 inches and has a refresh rate of 120 Hz. On the back, it has a trio of cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It’s available in the UK from today and will also be available on Circular for £12.50 per month with a £30 setup fee.
Finally, there’s the Nokia C31, a €129 handset that HMD says can offer three days of battery life thanks to its 5,050 mAh battery. It is powered by a Unisoc 9863A1 processor, with a choice of 3 or 4 GB of RAM and between 32 and 128 GB of expandable storage. The screen is 6.7 inches, but is only 720p, and the trio of cameras on the back are led by a 13-megapixel main sensor. HMD promises to support it with two years of security updates, but it will not receive major Android OS updates. UK availability is not yet known.